Atrazine, the second most widely used weedkiller in the country, is showing up in some streams and rivers at levels high enough to potentially harm amphibians, fish and aquatic ecosystems, according to the findings of an extensive Environmental Protection Agency database that has not been made public.
The federal government first approved atrazine in the 1950s, but it came under increased scrutiny in the late 1990s after Tyrone B. Hayes, a professor of integrative biology at the University of California at Berkeley, did a series of studies -- first for chemical companies and then on his own -- that indicated that tiny amounts of the pesticide de-masculinized tadpoles of African clawed frogs. The European Union declared it a harmful "endocrine disrupter" and banned it as of 2005, but the EPA decided to allow its continued use after determining that the agency lacked a standard test for measuring the hormone-disrupting effects of chemicals.
By the early 90's, In the coulee country of SW Wisconsin a large portion of the private wells have been contaminated by atrazine as the poison of choice in the monocultured corn belt spider webed by small streams and creeks flowing to the Wisconsin and Mississippi rivers. RLK
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